Bonded Summoner-Book 6 - Epilogue - The Family Continues to Grow

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Book 6 - Epilogue - The Family Continues to Grow

Jake brushed Aiko’s dark purple fur, pampering his kitsune daughter’s fluffy tail. Giving happy chirps, her chest rose and fell at a soft rhythm.

His kitsune wife sat next to him on a couch, reading a storybook for Nora and Clara to also enjoy, while Jake was joined by Ava on his other side. The family was once again relaxing in their Refuge, having returned to their home of Highlands.

Blaze, his third lamia daughter, played with her big sisters and Ruby. Having red scales and hair, the girl was a little tyrant. Spoiled by her big sisters, she never rested when it came to having of fun and seeking of affection.

Ruby was really starting to fit into the family, having better control or understanding over her body and the world around her. She now trained with the girls and Jake, practicing against his summons, and with Ava’s battle body and Jasmina.

Her claws were fierce, and Jake was a bit surprised by the strength and hardiness of the creature’s medium-sized frame.

The blood badgerdillo’s body was now almost completely covered in red crystal like some sort of chrysalis, Fhesiah having fed her various blood related treasures from the vampire’s sack and those she purchased or traded for.

Sati floated over the hearthforge while Tanda and Ophelia worked the forge, helping them. She aided them in creating Qi-infused flames as Lia worked the Runic Crucible ability, allowing the two to more easily create the heavenly energy items.

The fire spirits floated around the family, playing and joining in their activities. Faye had said the little sprites were soon to cross over to the second Tier, the swarm gaining in strength rapidly. Having been infused with energy from Bastet’s Lamp and the Hearth of the Refuge, they were now reaching the size of a small child–the size that his children should currently be.

The two new permanent summons could both talk now, using the mental speech of cultivators. They learned rapidly, digesting knowledge at a furious pace. Jake wasn’t sure why, but both Sati and Ruby acted a bit shy around him. Often he had tried speaking with them, and while polite, their answers were a little…short.

Yet he knew Ruby spent a lot of time speaking with Blood, Berri, and Fhesiah, and it was the same with Sati. Usually while he was…busy. Strange.

Ava’s daughter, a seed, was now planted near the World Tree on Highlands. From what he understood, a treant beastkin would be born–the first in over a thousand years. Already his daughter had sprouted, and while he found this method of birth quite strange, he just rolled with it. His egg-laying wife was odd enough already.

Not being a part of their body tempering cycles, both lesser avatars of Avalara were now with seed once more, Jake doing his…duty to repopulate the treants of Highlands. Of course they would be changed from their original visages just like the rest of the beastkin, but he imagined that they would be welcomed on Highlands just the same.

Blaze snaked toward Jake, jostling him as she crashed into him on the couch. Aiko growled at her sister for her pleasant rest being disturbed, to which Blaze hissed back.

“Dad! Show us more of your summons! Mommas say we haven’t even seen them all yet!”

Jake frowned and intended to reprimand his daughter lightly for her actions. However, Blood grabbed her by the ear with telekinesis.


“First of all, when you want someone to do something for you, you ask, and you say please. Second of all, what you just did was rude. You disturbed your sister, and instead of saying sorry, you hissed at her! Be considerate of others, especially your dear sisters–you know that, two months old or not!”

“Aw, but mom, I wanted–”

“No buts. Say you’re sorry to Aiko now. You wouldn’t want to be disturbed during your time with Dad and mothers, would you? Just look at how disappointed your father is.”

Blaze met Jake’s eyes, then scrunched up her face, looking remorseful. “S-Sorry, Aiko. I’ll be…more careful. I got…excited.” She sighed.

Aiko chirped, and Blaze’s look was pleading. “Sorry, Daddy. P-please, can you show us more of your summons? They’re so cool!”

Nyxa and Rena stood behind her, their expressions pleading, and even Nora and Clara both looked interested.

“What do you think, Aiko? Do you want to see them too?”

She chirped in affirmative and nudged against his chest with a vulpine smile, so they ended their grooming session. Giving her some pats and kissing his kitsune wife and Ava, he got up.

That his daughter understood him, but he couldn’t understand her, was an oddity. He did have Fhesiah, Blood and Berri around to help, but his fox daughter was…a little odd to him. Still, she was definitely cute–and fluffy.

Drawing from his wives and the Hearth of the Refuge, he cast his numerous summons he had collected. His kids and his wives all clapped, pointing out the interesting creatures he had gathered templates for. Some second Tier dinosaurs had now joined his collection, powerful Highlands creatures capable of a wide array of abilities.

The varied creatures of Ganestra joined them, along with a few from Ankhmar. The creatures of Highlands were definitely a mixture of flavored Earth mammals and avian creatures, mixed with dinosaurs. But his templates from Ganestra resembled monsters from games he was familiar with.

From the specter he captured during his date with Ava, to beasts with breath attacks and giant insects, Ganestra and Ankhmar had numerous useful creatures.

Jake now had a wide array of monsters to choose from, and he was excited to make use of them when the situation called for it.

But most of all, he was excited about his Hearthtribe Templates. From Nadessa and her father, the War Treant, to Vesuvius and his daughter, Vexana the venomous cobra woman–Jake now had numerous powerful beastkin to call upon.

While individually they were not that all strong, especially compared to his wives: he could create ten Vexanas if he wanted to use her auril venom against an enemy, as an example.

His daughters all gasped in excitement as each creature was brought out, and he showed off their abilities against each other. His large lava golem punched his death scorpion, crushing its carapace, while his ice devil sliced into the lava golem’s side, freezing it.

Jasmina sang a song, demonstrating her power to enhance his Vesuvius template, who fought off three Roxos as they dashed and spun around with a whirling dervish of blades. The Garuda even made an appearance, dueling Ava’s battle avatar.

He called out Valtor and his wife, Amara. The two worked together and cast a powerful blast of arcane lightning, a surprisingly powerful spell that blasted into Bill, much to Berri’s delight and applause.

The number of templates summoned in such a short duration was far beyond what he could accomplish on his own, but Jake was somewhat shocked at the effect he could bring out. Dozens of creatures now battled, as his daughters, and even his wives, oo’d and aww’d.

Blaze clapped. “Yay! This is awesome, daddy! What about the heroic beasts? Mommy told me they were some of the best ones!”

Jake hesitated, knowing that the heroic beasts appeared to be against being summoned for anything but true combat. But he remembered that at the very least, Bree had shown some interest in his family–she had come to their victory celebrations, anyway. She hadn’t yet met his children, and he had been waiting for the right time to introduce them.

He probed his connection to Bree, and he nearly stumbled in shock from what he felt in response.


Something was going on with Bree, and he wasn’t sure he understood what was going on. It was like the moment he probed the bond, the floodgates for the emotion were opened.

His wives were instantly apprised of the situation and his plan, and each mother quickly scooped their daughters up, or floated them by their side with Telekinesis in the case of Blood and Berri. They shushed their daughters, letting them know what was about to happen might be dangerous.

He drew in all the mana from his constructs, dispelling all but his permanent summons and restoring his available mana. Sati, Jasmina and Ruby looked on in interest, gathering nearby–able to stay present thanks to the Refuge able to maintain them.

The Garuda also floated in the air at the ready with Ava’s battle avatar, the giant treant beast towering over everything.

Jake summoned Bree’s special template, the giant red boar appearing in motes of light. Bree had become larger now, being scaled up to the second Tier. Flowers on her body were aflame, her body covered in vine armor. Her auril heart pulsed, and Tanda and Ava both gasped.

After a moment of what Jake knew was many heartbeats, Ava said, “It looks like she needs your help.”

Tanda added, “It was your mark! It caused her…some kind of problem.”

Jake frowned. “So should I… just try to re-mark her?”

The boar’s eyes widened and shook her head, even as more pulses of her auril heart could be felt.

Ava shook her head as she walked up to Jake. “It appears there’s a problem with doing that. If you unravel your mark to form a new one, you’ll lose your connection to mark her. She cares about this connection to you and doesn’t want to lose it.”

Jake could certainly feel that Bree wanted him to do something. She stared at Ava’s battle avatar, looking between that and Ava.

Ava closed her eyes along with Tanda, trying to talk with her. Lia was already holding Clara, but came to take Nora from her to hold them both up.

Tanda smiled, her tail wagging. “Oh! I think she wants you to do what you did with Ava. Let’s make her a new body!”

He looked between the three of them. “Wait a minute. Why is it she can talk more now, and why did she wait until now?”

Blood hummed. “Is it not because the world was Contested? Even Ava was limited until the war was won.”

Ava nodded. “Not only that, but it seems there is more to her situation than we understood. Even now, she does not quite speak in words. I believe she’ll be able to shed some light on the situation if we manage her request. If you do not make her a body and soon, you will lose her–perhaps forever.”

Jake thought about what they did when they created Ava’s battle avatar. They had used a seed from Ava herself, their bond which led to her core, Oran’s body and Jake’s Fusion Summon with Tanda. Then, Ava forged her body with the requisite materials and energy using her core…

He frowned. “We have the special seed from the Champion, so I think we have what we need, but will Bree be able to do the heavy lifting here? I don’t think I’m capable of combining all these disparate things to make a body, and I know our…materials originally were all meant for Ava, and she was needed to complete the process.”

A case of content theft: this narrative is not rightfully on Amazon; if you spot it, report the violation.

Ava had special skills, already understanding how to create an avatar. It was only because she was a world core that she had the skills and energy to make it happen. If Bree was capable of doing this, that meant she was likely much more powerful than he originally imagined.

Bree looked him in the eyes, hers filled with firm determination. She nodded, then looked over to Bloodberri, pointing with her vines.

Jake was a bit surprised. He could feel that she wanted him to use Bloodberri’s fusion summon. He reached out his hand to Tanda, and her hand entered her hearth, grabbing the seed she obtained from calling Cernunnos during their battle with the enemy Champion.

As she took it out, it pulsed with immense vitality and energy. Nurtured by her special ability, it had been fed by their Hearth of the Refuge, along with the flames of their family for all these months. It was green and gold in color, spiral fractal patterns running up and down the seed, which was almost the size and shape of an apple at this point.

Bree looked at the seed with what Jake thought was respect, a small smile touching her porcine lips. Jake had previously felt something special from the seed, and now that effect had been amplified, perhaps by more than tenfold. It now almost felt like a Champion or a weak Divine standing next to him, or just like the world tree seed had felt.

This item was clearly special, having a weight on reality that he couldn’t quite fully explain, even after reaching the fourth level in Divine Energy Manipulation.

Fhesiah was calming Aiko, running her hands through her fur. “It really is something. Tanda’s ability to nurture seeds like that one will surely come in handy in the future. To think, the most fertile soil is…” She looked at Tanda’s chest with a smirk.

Berri smiled, holding Rena and Nyxa’s shoulders, and they protectively held on to Blaze. “Yeah, Tanda’s such a good girl! Amazing.” Her three daughters all clapped, joining in on the praise with beaming smiles.

Tanda giggled, her tail wagging. “Okay, let’s do it! We’ll do the fusion summon with Bloodberri!”

She joined Jake at his side, and he closed his eyes trying to find harmony with his Monarch and Saint. Their hearths began to beat as one, Jake’s connections within his hearth blazing. Finding it, a flame connected from his hearth to theirs, a rope of black and white holy flames.

Focusing on his mark with Bree next, he felt her anticipation. She had been desperate, but now there was a flash of excitement mixed with desire.

Jake triggered fusion summon while focusing on his connection to Bree, along with the seed. A portal opened up, and golden hexagons of the Framework covered the portal. Powerful energies burst forth, along with a familiar energy and vitality emerging from it. On the other side, Jake was shocked at what he saw.

It was some kind of creature’s face, but its teeth alone were larger than anything they had ever fought. Despite the portal being a distance of what was several football fields away from this being, its face took up the entire view.

Tanda’s ears were flat on her head. “Some kind of… dino-dog? Bree is–”

The creature’s head glowed, and something tore itself away as the golden hexagons wrapped around it. It was a shimmering haze, and from Jake's bonded connection, he could tell–this light actually contained his mark. And that could only mean one thing: what just separated from the head was, at the very least, a piece of her soul.

The haze flew into the seed, and Bree's boar body began deconstructing into motes of light and combined with it, even as the portal closed.

A blast of wind blew through the Refuge forest, the tree's leaves and dirt being whipped into the air. The seed lit brightly, and the winds began to reverse, as it started to draw energy in.

His wives shielded the children, but also sent their energies over to Jake through their bond. Ava smiled, and sent a large amount as well through the world core. Something that they could only do while docked and not Contested, the amount of energy entering their Refuge was immense.

A vortex formed as streams of energy poured into the seed, along with something Jake hadn't expected: a seed from the Hearthforge tree of Brigid. They had seen a few seeds or fruits sprouting on its branches, but they hadn't quite been ready–until now.

At the arrival of the hearthvine seed, there was a fiery, and thankfully localized, explosion. It was bright and dense, and the flame started to compact even further before a second explosion occurred. Only this time, the explosion was composed of flaming vines.

The explosion was about the size of a moving truck, and a creature had begun to form in front of the family. Four limbs formed first, a quadrupedal beast of some kind. Next, a tail and a head, the body a deep green. Red scales and flowers bloomed on its skin, and as the creature took shape, Jake was surprised.

It was shifting into what appeared to be…something like a triceratops. An Auril Beast of the second Tier, it definitely looked different from how Jake had seen them depicted. The creature did not have flat feet to handle its massive bulk. Instead, its front and rear legs looked a lot more like… a lizard or a dog’s, now that its form had filled out a bit more.

The vine armor made its return, as Bree’s vines grew and weaved around its body. Her head looked a bit different from a triceratops that he was familiar with. On its odd crown, two larger horns extended far beyond what would have been its beak. It did not have a third horn, as it had more of a mouth of a carnivore, a muzzled jaw rather than a beak, some kind of mixture of a dog and dinosaur.

The tail was different as well, having a spiked club, almost like an ankylosaur. Bree’s auril heart pulsed, and Jake could feel the hearthvines within her chest and throughout the insides of her body.

He could feel a boundless vitality within, a nurturing flame that embodied life and fertility. Its nature kept on changing, as if Bree were trying to alter or find her path, but Jake definitely felt like Brigid had some influence over the flames and her new body. Thinking on it, a triceratops was a lot like a dinosaur version of a boar or cow that represented Brigid.

The body finished transforming, and Bree sat down on her hindquarters, her upper body rising to tower over the family. In her chest beat a powerful auril heart, a pulsing red heat underneath her green skin. The pulsing flame went through her body, the hearthvines underneath her skin like a secondary vein system carrying mana-fueled fire instead of blood.

Blood smiled. “Truly beautiful, and strong. This one feels like… our goddess, Echidna. I believe she is kin of ours. Welcome, Bree.”

Jake could also feel what Blood meant, and the portal which had opened felt a lot like when Jake, Blood and Berri had visited Echidna’s home world in their minds.

Tanda added, “But also Brigid! I feel it in her flames, and in her heart’s song.”

Ava nodded. “Yes, a bit of mother is within her. How nice to meet you once again, Bree.”

Pride and satisfaction radiated from Bree, and Jake could feel what she wanted. Now that her body had been rebuilt anew, she wanted him to fix his mark. It had been worn down, and in truth, it felt like parts of his painting had been erased time and time again and redrawn with a different paint.

Knowing he wasn’t in for a fight again, he formed the mark with the flames of his hearth, the sigils forming the circle and branding her auril heart. Their connection formed anew, relief washed over Jake from Bree’s emotions.

“Welcome back, Bree. If I had known you were in trouble…” Jake didn’t want to blame Bree, and he didn’t think he himself was without blame. However, more than once Bree had shown she was able to send emotion to him over their bond–even Isolde and Ainora could when he probed summoning their Templates.

And yet, not even a peep came over it. He had every reason to believe that, if there was some kind of problem, that she could have reached out to him. So, just why didn’t she, waiting for him to reach out to her?

On top of that, things had just been relaxing on the home front. Not needing Bree or the other two for combat, he had no real reason to call out to them.

Bree’s auril heart began to beat strongly, and she looked over to Ava.

“Oh! It might be best if we connect, so she can speak with you.” Jake did his best to do so, his hearth beating and eventually connecting to Ava’s as he found harmony with her and Tanda. His bond with Ava made this easier and clearer than ever.

When that was complete, he heard her voice in his mind.

“I apologize for troubling you, Pack Leader. My other body had been…rather limited in how I could speak with you. At first, your soul wasn’t whole, and I knew you weren’t ready to help me how you did–so I did my best to hold on. I was almost at my limits, and was in truth about to reach out to you. Now that I am here, I am fully at your disposal.”

That was…an odd way of wording things. “Can you tell us what is going on with Isolde and Ainora? You three always seemed connected in some way.”

Bree hesitated, before her heart began beating once again, “Certain memories of mine had to be sealed for me to be able to join you in this vessel, so I don’t remember everything. However, they…were, or are, my sisters. We shared…a body.”

“Like Blood and me!” Berri nodded. “That’s great. Let’s call them out, I want to meet them again now. Maybe we can talk to them properly!”

Bree’s expression and voice looked a bit pained, “I’m afraid…that’s not quite right, we were what you might call a Cerberus. And that won’t be possible. We had…a bit of a falling out, and I’m sure if Pack Leader were to summon their Templates, they will no longer drive them. As to why, I’d rather talk about this at a later date. Perhaps, after I’ve had time to…acclimate to my new existence.” She gave Jake a pleading look. “As long as that’s okay, Pack Leader?”

Jake could sense how important this was to Bree, so as much as he wanted to know, he let it go. That she called him Pack Leader felt like a bit of a hint, but he left it at that for now.

“That’s fine. For now, welcome. I’m afraid there will not be much battle for a while, as our goddess wanted us to take a break and train. I know that was important to you.”

Bree looked over the crowd gathered, and a smile tugged on her odd, dino-dog lips, revealing sharp teeth. “I am excited to train alongside my new pack. I see that it has grown larger since I last joined you, and it is even more impressive than before.”

She stomped over next to Ruby, Jasmina and Sati, and sat down beside them. Jake could feel contentment and pride emanating from her, but also focus. She was doing something to her body, her vines inside shifting around, and she was testing her auril capabilities. He knew she had done similar with her boar body.

Tanda’s wings fluttered. “That was a surprise! You have so many Templates to summon now, Jake! I can’t wait to see you fight with all of them now!” She swiped the air with her claws as if fighting an imaginary foe.

Blood added, “And our people are doing phenomenally well, conquering the first Tier and beating the Obsidian Blades trash. We are building up thousands of allies, preparing for the War Trial.”

Ava smiled. “Highlands will be ready. We are working hard to prepare and protect our people, giving them the best fighting chance one can have when the war begins anew.” She looked over to Berri, “A certain castle is definitely going to be completed in time. Maybe even more than one.”

Berri pumped her fist, her old excitement returning to her. “Yes! We can then reenact the king of the rings movie! I’m going to kick so much butt!”

Lia was brushing Clara and Nora’s hair, fixing it from the burst of wind from before. “We have a lot of crafting and training to do! While we can’t fight in the war, we can still train up our people at Headquarters, and help equip them. They have been fighting in the PvP war, but many are working toward finding their passion.”

Fhesiah beamed. “While we can’t fight in the war, I still want to level up as much as possible.” She winked, and batted her brows. “I think we all know what that means.”

Aiko chirped a negative, and Rena frowned. “What does it mean? Can you really level up without fighting?”

Nyxa added, “And what’s wrong with mommy Faye’s eye?” She tried imitating the wink.

Clara said to Lia, “Mommy quick, heal mommy Faye. Her eye is broken.”

Ophelia rolled her eyes. “I wish healing spells could fix what was wrong with her, but healing spells can’t fix everything. Do not worry, daughter–there’s nothing wrong with her eye. But here, now that the danger is gone, you can all go play now.” She retrieved several of the gifted widgets from Guan Yu and his brothers, the kids snatching them up and dashing away to play with glee.

Jake and his wives, and his permanent summons watched them all play fondly, sometimes joining along. The children were their own perfect playmates, getting along well.

He sighed, smiling at them as they all played. “They grow so quickly. Parenthood has been a strange adventure of its own, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m glad Hestia fought to give us this special time, as we might not have it in the future.”

Berri pouted, putting her hands on her hips. “This is just the beginning! It’s not enough. We need more babies to make our team! Blood and I will master the art of making babies, just you wait and see. I can get better at it, I just need more practice!”

Faye nodded thoughtfully. “Now, this is a line of thought I can get behind, but it takes at least two to tango. I will be happy to help you and Jake to get better at this, as many times as it takes.”

Tanda laughed, her tail wagging, and Lia groaned. “… I’ll be in my forge.”

Only over eight months had passed since they rescued Highlands, and they had a few years left to go before they could take part in the war once more. The family had grown, from building up their allies to making new ones. They would continue to sharpen their claws, preparing for the difficult War Trial.

The grace period was over in a little over a year, and when that happened, things would change for Hearthtribe. Their second Tier worlds could then be included in these PvP events, and their guild would be forced to participate in Tier 2 Conquest.

Soon, their people would be intentionally crossing over into the second Tier, to help prepare for facing the more difficult enemies. The doors to Tartarus, the dungeon on Highlands would soon open, enabling a new form of exploration, providing danger and opportunity both.

Fhesiah smiled. “I may have a few other surprises coming too, husband.”

Jake frowned. “Surprises? I thought…” He looked over to Ruby and Sati, the two already seemingly conversing with Bree in their…more animal fashion.

Fhesiah nodded. “That wasn’t all! We have so many more allies coming to this Sector, and soon your kingdom will grow faster than the Obsidian Blade clan could have imagined.”

Blood gave a vicious smile. “Yes, I much like that. Those pathetic mercenaries will regret ever crossing us. Soon, our empire will grow, built upon the skulls of our enemies.”

Ava gave a smile of her own. “Many of us will make our debut, truly joining the family in combat. I am ready to show my strength, itching for a real fight.”

Bloodthirsty wives aside, Jake knew they still had a bit of rest and relaxation left. Whatever the case may actually be, the Hart Clan would be ready to face any challenge.